Vancouver, British Columbia reminds me a lot of my hometown of San Francisco in many ways. However, the difference I’m noticing this October is in the weather; we get fog and Vancouver gets rain. Today I’m coming to you from Fairmont Hotel Vancouver. Located in the heart of downtown Vancouver, this is the third and current Hotel Vancouver, officially opened in 1939 by King George VI and Queen Elizabeth. Originally built and opened by the Canadian Pacific Railway in 1888, you’ll notice a subtle train theme through the hotel. From the framed artwork in the lobby hallways to the Notch 8 restaurant, a term used in train lingo referring to when locomotives reach top traveling speed.
But we’re slowing down on this particular visit. I’m using Fairmont Hotel Vancouver as my home base for two nights before my train departure on the Rocky Mountaineer. I’m continuing the train theme on the First Passage to the West (Vancouver to Banff and Lake Louise – but that’s another story.)
It’s a grey day today, but the Fairmont and Vancouver locals embrace the rain. Hotel rooms are equipped with black umbrellas for loan during your stay. Speaking of grey, did you know that the steamy, hot movie “Fifty Shades of Grey” was filmed at the hotel and throughout Vancouver? There’s also another celebrity tie-in. As a well-traveled California girl, I stay at Fairmont hotels often. So did our local Bay Area celebrity, Robin Williams. I understand that Robin was a regular at Fairmont Hotel Vancouver and had a favorite suite here.
My room, #1243, was a king room and one of 550 rooms at the hotel. I slept like a baby with the wonderful pillows that I’ve come to expect from all Fairmont hotels. I didn’t have a visit from the “Lady in Red” but I’ve heard this friendly ghost, who goes by the name of Jennie Pearl Cox, was a ballroom visitor back in the 1930’s and 40’s. Tragically, she died in a car crash in 1944 and is said to have taken up residence in the hotel.
Another resident of the hotel is Beau, a friendly 10 year old yellow Labrador Retriever. That’s right, Fairmont Hotel Vancouver is pet-friendly. There is a $25 daily pet fee, but that fee includes a pet amenity, bed and dog dishes to borrow during your stay and a treat for Fiddo.
Speak of treats, if you enjoy high tea, you’re in for a treat at Tea at the Top on the 15th floor. Served twice daily in the afternoon, traditional tea is $54. and includes lighter-than-air scones with house-made blueberry preserves and Devonshire clotted cream, finger tea sandwiches (try the organic egg salad) pastries (the vanilla bean mille-feuille was delicious) and a choice of 25-28 teas blended exclusively by the Metropolitan Tea Company. Try the Maple Maple from Sri Lanka offering a caramel-like flavor. For those preferring an herbal tea, I liked Angle Falls Mist, a Canadian blend of strawberry and lemon.
For those 12 years and under, Prince and Princess Tea is offered for $27 and includes bubble gum tea, house-made sweet scone, kid-friendly finger sandwiches and strawberries with cream or other desserts.
Breakfast is available downstairs from 6:30 – 10:30 a.m. weekdays and 7:00- 10:00 am weekends. The indoor swimming pool and hot tub, located on the 2nd floor, is open from 6:30 am. Until 10:00 p.m. and the gym is available 24/7 with a room key. There’s also a spa on property, but I didn’t have a chance to visit Absolute Spa or Notch 8, a steak and seafood restaurant with a daily rotisserie feature for lunch and dinner. This is also the place to go for pre-prohibition cocktails. I thought the Bubbles and Berries cocktail, with Finlandia Vodka, raspberries, lemon and sparkling wine, was a lovely shade of pink.
There’s lots to like at this particular Fairmont hotel, an iconic landmark and one of the most recognizable buildings in the city’s skyline.
Need to know:
Are you a member of Fairmont President’s Club? It’s free and as a member you’ll receive complimentary internet access! For the celebrities and those preferring VIP treatment, you’ll want to stay on the gold floor – the ninth or fourteenth. Room rates range from $299 – $899, depending on time of year. Always check the website for current pricing.
Check in: 3:00 p.m.
Check out: 12:00 p.m.
Traveling with children? The Fairmont Vancouver offers complimentary milk and cookies delivered to your room, one coupon per child, per stay. You might also find block letters spelling out with your child’s name for bath time – that is IF you have let the family-friendly Fairmont know that you are traveling with kids.
For additional insider tips follow Nancy D. Brown on Twitter @Nancydbrown and @FairmontHotels.
If You Go:
The Fairmont Hotel Vancouver (604) 684-3131
900 West Georgia Street
Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, V6C 2W6
Article, photography and video by travel writer Nancy D. Brown. I was a guest of The Fairmont Hotel Vancouver and Rocky Mountaineer, however all opinions are my own.